How could this happen?
§ It’s been ten years since the schools asked for an increase in operating funding. That means the schools have not had an increase in local funding during that time. (Most districts ask for increases in funds every 3-5 years, instead of waiting for ten years.)
§ Until this year the schools had an operating balance, or “savings account.” As planned, we’ve been spending from the savings account for the last several years to balance the budget. Now that money is gone.
What have the schools done to live within their means?
The district has already cut over $7.5 million out of the annual budget, including teaching, administrative and support positions and reducing the amount spent on textbooks and educational technology
What is the Board going to do?
At the advice of a citizen’s financial advisory committee:
§ To stop even more drastic cuts, we are asking the community to renew an existing $6.8 million emergency levy that’s been on the books since 1980, and after ten years with no operating increase, add $7.5 million. This issue will be on the ballot in May.
§ We are asking for only enough to get through this immediate crisis.
§ We will likely seek another small addition (to an issue that was originally passed in 1995) in a couple of years.
*This issue would cost about $18 a month more per $100,000 in home value.
What will happen if the issue passes, how will the money be used?
Our children have been making progress academically - test scores are up in reading and math, and the administration continues to focus on its commitment to become the first urban school district rated “Excellent” in the State of Ohio.
But without this renewal and increase, Middletown Schools will need to cut another $10 million its educational programs to state minimum standards. We would need to cut the programs that include:
§ Music, art and physical education classes in the elementary schools
§ Nearly one of every five classroom teachers
§ All students activities like sports, band and show choir, student government and National Honor Society and
§ The number of elective classes offered at the high school, including advanced placement and honors classes
§ Hours of the school day to the state minimum which would be from 7 am to 12 noon for elementary students and 7 am to 12:30 pm for middle and high school students
If they knew they needed this money for operations, why did the schools ask for a bond issue to build new schools, why don’t they use that money to cover the deficit?
§ Money from the bond issue can’t be used for operations. That money can only be used for renovations, building and other capital projects, like educational equipment.
§ Second, it has never been a case of funding buildings or operations. Educating children requires both - safe, adequate classrooms for every Middletown child, and enough funds to put teachers into those classrooms.
During the bond issue campaign, the Board and administration repeatedly reminded residents that our financial plan called for an operating increase in 2005-06
If you have questions or need clarification, please ask.
Community Relations / Communications Specialist
Middletown City Schools
1515 Girard Ave.
Middletown, OH 45044